Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On The Road

Early morning travelers pulling an American icon, the Airstream.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Edge of Earth

A hiker stands on top of a mountain overlooking a sea of clouds. Yet what he is actually looking at is a foggy shroud above a metropolis call Los Angeles.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bass Fishing Lake Arrowhead

Fishing is as much of an aesthetic experience as it is a sport, especially at 6:00am at Lake Arrowhead . Pictured here, my friend Stu, a B.A.S.S. pro tournament fisherman, shows his appreciation by kissing a small mouth bass after catching the little fighter.

"The Boat House" in the background was originally owned by Mr. Thomas Hamilton, the inventor of the variable pitch prop on airplanes as well as building the world’s first plane made of metal. It was called the Hamilton Metal Plane. Not a bad backdrop while fishing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Managing Debt from the Back Seat

As the license plate implies, managing debt can be a cool job, especially for a dog.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009


Color seems absent in the midst of doom.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

End of Kodachrome

After 74 years, Kodak is discontinuing it's slide film, Kodachrome.

Sad day. I used to make a measly living on Kodachrome 64 and 25. Although, back in the early 80s, my photos barely paid the bills, the results were almost always stunning. The photo above is of my buddy and I in 1984; camera set on a tripod and timer. Kodachrome is known for it's rich colors, especially it's reds.

Kodachrome photos from other photographers -- click here

Monday, June 22, 2009

Iranians Rally Again

I believe I took these photos in 1986. I learned of the demonstration from a news report, and within an hour, I was at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. With my Nikon FE2 in hand, along with a few rolls of film, I got in the face of a few angry demonstrators, as well as many lovely Iranian nationals. It was a passionate, yet peaceful rally.

Once again, the Iranian people are expressing their views in the streets of Los Angeles. And thank God, we in America allow freedom of speech.

Redondo Beach

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hula Hooping on Top of LA

The highest peak in Los Angeles is called Mt. San Antonio, we all know it as "Mt. Baldy." At 10,064-ft (3,069 M), the rocky, dome-shaped mountain is the backdrop for Los Angeles. During the winter, Mt. Baldy is mostly covered with snow, but in the summer, "Baldy"speaks for itself.

Crystal, from Los Angeles, decided to bring a Hula Hoop on our group hike yesterday to the top of Baldy. During our hike up the steep ridge of the mountain, hikers asked what we were doing with the individual sections of the hoop (six sections). When we told them, they all wanted to watch history being made on Top of LA.

So, was Crystal the first person to Hula Hoop on Mt. Baldy?

More hooping news and information at Hooping.org

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Driver

Between changing channels on our radios, talking on the cell phone and/or texting, it might be a good idea to look where you are going.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Painted Sky

I shot this photo last year in downtown Los Angeles. While at a stop signal, I looked up through my sunroof of my car and saw what I thought was a great subject. The light turned green about the time I had my camera focused. After a couple friendly honks, I popped of three shots and kept this one.

Although I've displayed this before on another site, I thought it is worth showing again.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Bitten by Nature

Our guide warned us of dangerous insects, reptiles and plants. One of the deadliest snakes in North America is the Mojave Green rattlesnake. You don't want to be bitten by a Green.

When I saw my friend quietly nursing her wound, I became concerned. Symptoms from snake bite are sometimes slow to show up, causing victims to underestimate the severity of the encounter. First, you feel weakness in your muscles then you experience shortness of breath and extreme pain. Antivenin is necessary for survival.

Of course, I--being trained and certified as an Emergency First Responder (EFR)--had to get a photo of the wound first! I have my priorities your know....

Thank God my friend explained that it was not a snake that bit her, but a yucca. Even a plant can bite you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Munster's Go Downtown

As far as I know, the Munsters probably still live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane, somewhere in Universal Studios back lot.

This photo was taken at Bunker Hill, Los Angeles in 1969. Union Bank of California can be seen rising in the background. It was completed in 1965. Can anyone identify the make, model and year of the car?

Some of the old Victorian homes were purchased by historians and or collectors and relocated. A few were rescued and now rest at Heritage Square along the historic Arroyo Seco Freeway--also known as The Pasadena Freeway. That's another story.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Mail Lineup

Tired of the endless daily junk mail to sort out, I decided to give the mail carrier a "special place" to put the grocery advertisements, fast food menus and Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. I purchased a basket and placed it next to my front door with a sign reading, "Please Place Junk Mail Here."

It works. I now come home each day to a stack of bills in one place and junk mail in another. Although, I still like to rummage through the basket for stray magazines that get caught in the physical spam filter.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Irish Jam

Sunset Beach, CA (Orange County)-- Friends join Michael Kelly of the Sligo Rags, as well as others, Sunday at Nadine's Irish Mist Bar & Restaurant for an afternoon jam session. Fiddle's, tin whistle, bodhran (Irish drum), guitars and beer-drinkers made up the group of Irish music-lovers. That would be me in the foreground on the guitar, with my friends, Suz and Amy.

A Glimpse of Summer

Eight flavors tantalize the youngster, while making a single choice can be quite a chore. Summer, once again, is just around the corner. How much we have to look forward to!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Kelso Depot (Continued)

One of my greatest pleasures is driving through the Mojave Desert. In the good old days, I had a VW Van--a Westfalia camper equipped with roll-down windows and a spray bottle as an air conditioner.

Every other weekend a small group of friends chose a remote desert location on a map and drove there. Back in '80s, Kelso was headed towards ruins. The 80s was all about New Wave music, building up cities and solving the Rubik's Cube. Old desert towns and buildings were used more for target practice and dirt bike destinations than being appreciated and left alone. Preservation was alive but struggling.

Today, Kelso is enjoying a revitalization. The East Mojave is now mostly a Preserve. Inside Kelso Depot, an old fashioned soda fountain greets visitors with turn-of-the-century charm and nostalgia. All the individual rooms in the train station are used as a museum and library. They even have original recordings of a 1950s radio show broadcasting from a nearby desert town.

Here, one finds a vibrant, living desert full of history and hidden treasures.

Today, I drive a car with air conditioning. But when I'm rolling through mirages on the sun-soaked highways of the East Mojave, you will often find me with my windows down and stereo playing Marty Robbins and the Sons of the Pioneers, singing,

"All day I've faced a barren waste
Without the taste of water,
cool water

Old Dan and I with throats burned dry
And souls that cry for water

Cool..., clear..., water...."

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Desert Hairy Scorpion

Hey, I didn't name it, they did. The Latin (scientific) name, hadrurus arizonensis, means "belonging to Arizona" but these predatory, and dangerous, creepy crawlers inhabit the California deserts as well--and they come out at night!

The photo above is not enhanced; I took it at 10:30 PM in the East Mojave with a black light. That's right, scorpions glow in the dark using a simple, hand-held UV flash light.

Under a canopy of a million stars, our group searched the balmy desert floor searching for the turquoise glow of the scorpion. As we held the black light close to this particular specimen, insects attracted to the purple light provided a feast for the scorpion. During this viewing, a curious moth flew near the scorpion, and it snatched the moth with it's pincer, aimed his tail-stinger at the moth and injected it with a lethal dose of venom, paralyzing it. Then we watched the scorpion enjoy its meal in fascination.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wind Power

You see these white behemoths while driving out to Palm Springs, or in recent movies depicting a desert drive to Vegas.

Recently, I decided to get a close up look at these "green power" mills and was surprised to see how large they really are. The larger mills, as pictured, are over 20 stories tall and have blades that reach over 150 feet! And there are hundreds of them. It's like a forest of windmills in the desert. In some ways they are an eyesore--at best they are interesting to look at. But as the pressure mounts to produce more clean power, I'm afraid more and more of these windmills will pop up. Here's the good news: One of these wind mills can produce enough electricity in one hour to power up an average home for one month. Not bad….

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back on the Dry Dock

San Gabriel, CA -- Clearman's Galley is a fixture in the San Gabriel Valley. Since I was a kid, we used to perform acts of gluttony on chili cheese burgers, cheese bread and red cabbage salad. I also learned to play the original arcade game, Astroids and loose mass amounts of quarters. The Galley was also one of the first restaurants I visited to have a big screen TV, permanently set to ESPN.

While driving by, one couldn't help notice the big red boat (right), serving as the galley with a restaurant and wood pilings as a facade. It all started back in the late 60s.

A couple years ago, the boat was hauled away and a now a Kohl's department store occupies it's space. The new iconic restaurant was built but for months, no boat.

I am happy to report the old boat was replaced with a scaled down version of the original red vessel. I haven't gone there yet but sure curious to see if the old Galley is serving up the same old grub. Sure hope so!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Shelves of porcelain figurines jumped out at me the other day, begging to be documented and shared with the world--literally. I don't always carry my camera into the restroom at a gas station, but this time I couldn't resist.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Living Aloha Under Da' Blue

Temecula, CA -- I would love to meet these folks. They seem to travel right. I also appreciate the "Live Aloha" written on the back of their bus. Looks like they are living it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Urban Decay and the Beholder

The Mojave Desert is blessed with litter. Yes, litter! Since our deserts are so hot and dry, old discards from the late 1800s through the 1970s are better preserved and considered and often demand good money to the collector. I like to think we are lucky to have abandoned buildings, old soda cans and original mining tools laying around the ground. The trick is where to look....

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mineral Pool with a View

East Mojave Desert -- Luxury desert spas have been around for a long time. Some are more well-appointed than others. This one, however, is a bit frugal to say the least. Built in the 1940s, the cross-shaped pool was part of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa and is now filled upon request.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Drive Through the East Mojave

Spring is a great time to visit the East Mojave National Preserve. This is Cima Road, south of Interstate 15. A beautiful, 22-mile drive takes you to the town of Keslo and Kelso Depot.

Today, temperatures only reached about 100-degrees Fahrenheit. But afternoon thunderstorms quickly cooled the landscape and desert air to a pleasant 90 degrees.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Bug Woman

Somewhere between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, in the middle of the hot, Mojave Desert I discovered Erin. As you can tell from her tattooed arm, she loves insects! She, as well as another seven students took a weekend class on entomology (the study of insects) at the Desert Studies Center at Soda Springs / Zzyzx, California.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Whistle Stop at Kelso Depot

East Mojave Desert -- Deep in the heart of the Mojave National Preserve is the newly renovated Kelso Depot and Visitor Center. The old train depot was built during the mining boom in the 1920s and had over 2,000 residents up until the 1940s. Today, the town of Kelso is pretty much a ghost town except for the 1920s-style soda fountain bar, museum and old fashion jail cell at the Depot.

More on the Kelso Depot and East Mojave to follow...

View Larger Map of Kelso